While the University of Oregon is finalizing plans for the construction of a glitzy, multi-million dollar indoor practice facility for football, it needs to keep an eye on Mario Cristobal.
Coach C. has lifted the Oregon program into the top ten in both team rankings as well as recruiting. He is among UO’s top income producers, yet he is paid much less than other coaches with PAC-12 pedigrees. For example, David Shaw, Mike Leach, Chip Kelly, and Lane Kiffin earn more than Cristobal. So does former Colorado coach Mel Tucker whose lifetime college coaching record amounts to just 14 wins with 12 losses. Coach C’s total pay isn’t even among the top 25 of the FBS.
Cristobal’s name is being associated with programs all across America. If the Ducks expect to keep him, they need to make a publicity splash about increasing his income that is as resounding as the one for the glitzy new multi-million dollar practice facility.
That won’t matter on the field this week as the Ducks (6-1) should have no trouble overpowering Colorado (2-5). Oregon is banged up, especially on defense, but the Buffalo offense won’t capitalize behind a line that ranks 106th.
Oregon won the last bout (2019) between these two by a margin of 42 points. Betting lines favor Oregon by 25+. Despite those big margins, our Index shows a modest 33-17 prediction primarily based on Colorado showing some performance trends this month that are above expectations.
Arizona State (5-2) will continue to lead the PAC-12 South after a 29-21 win over Washington State (4-4) in a match-up of embattled coaching staffs. It will be a nice win for the PAC-12 South, but any win would be nice after all six teams are coming off of losses.
I don’t expect a high-quality game on the field since Washington State is among the nation’s leaders in throwing interceptions and Arizona State is among the nation’s leaders for most penalties.
Stanford’s David Shaw will try to prove once again that he should be the third-highest paid coach in college football when the Cardinal (3-4) hosts the stale Washington Muskies (3-4). The Cardinal have lost three of their last four, while Washington had to come from behind last week to take down an Arizona team that hasn’t won a game in two years.
Neither of these outfits has a logical shot at the PAC-12 North title, but the loser has a fabulous opportunity to lock up fifth place.
If both programs continue to decline, I would expect Washington to give head coach Jimmy Lake another year as head coach if he replaces offensive coordinator John Donovan.
Stanford’s decisions appear to be more profound given Shaw’s high salary and diminishing results.
Oregon State (5-2) will return to the Savvy Index top 25 for the first time in nearly a decade after a tight win at California (2-5). Both teams have top 30 rush defenses, but the difference is that the Beavers gnaw rush defenses into splinters while the Bears only nibble.
OSU’s most significant advantage is junior running back B.J. Baylor, who ranks in the top ten for most rushing yards despite having the fewest number of carries among the other nine.
Arizona (0-7) has yet to reach 20 points in a game and won’t get there this week either as the Wildcats travel to Los Angeles for a 36-14 loss to USC (3-2).
The Wildcats don’t have enough of anything to compete with the Troy boys. Injuries have taken down U of A’s top two quarterbacks, and that leaves just Will Plummer as the only scholarship guy behind center. Will has done an excellent job of keeping Arizona atop the nation’s most interception-prone teams in America. Whereas his predecessors threw two interceptions for every touchdown, Will has thrown five interceptions for every two touchdowns.
With this win over Arizona, USC has a good shot at winning all five of its remaining games and, as undeserving as it might seem, the PAC-12 South Division as well.
Utah (4-3) is a 32-27 favorite to end UCLA’s (5-3) hopes of winning the South. Unfortunately for the Utes, the schedule forward is too tough to think UU will win the South.
UCLA will struggle with Utah’s 11th-ranked pressure defense and especially with elite linebacker Devin Lloyd. The Bruins also might have a problem at quarterback since Dorian Thompson-Robinson has not yet been cleared to return from a shoulder injury.
Utah has won the last three meetings between these two by scores of 49-3, 41-10, and 48-17. It will be closer this year, but the winner will be unchanged.
Last week was a good week for our Savvy Index. It was slightly better than Vegas in predicting game-winners while finishing four games better in predicting point spreads and ten games better in predicting total game points.
Our best predictions were:
Oregon over UCLA (reversal of oddsmakers) 30-28. Oregon won 34-31
Kent St. over Ohio 32-25. Final was 34-27
San Jose State over UNLV 28-21. Final was 27-20
Worst prediction was Western Michigan over Toledo by four. Toledo won by 19.
To see all our predictions this week, please visit savvygameline.com.
Around the nation . . .
This week, there are only two games that match top 25 teams against each other, and both games occur in the Big Ten.
Two undefeated teams from Michigan get together in East Lansing as the #9 Michigan Wolverines (7-0) thump #7 Michigan State 28-24. The Wolverines have Cade McNamara, who has thrown just one interception in seven games.
Fifth-ranked Ohio State (6-1) will keep pace with Michigan in the Big Ten East Division after a convincing win over #16 Penn State (5-2). OSU is the only team in our index to post 15 positive trends this month, and the Buckeyes are now atop our Index as the team most likely to make it to the national championship game.
Georgia (7-0) remains #1 in our season rankings, but we can expect the Bulldogs to take a nosedive.
Here are some reasons why:
* Georgia’s trend lines in our system have stagnated. High-powered teams that stagnate are vulnerable, especially teams like UGA that have a history of choking.
* Georgia’s injury list still shows quarterback J.T. Daniels, two running backs, and three receivers.
* This week’s game against Florida (4-3) is a neutral-site game, and Georgia has been less than impressive in neutral-site games.
* Florida beat Georgia 44-28 on a neutral site last year.
Trend lines for #3 Cincinnati (7-0) have been dropping all month, and the Bearcats no longer display the metrics of a playoff team. That won’t be evident this week against Tulane (1-6), but we can expect to see UC in an upset loss before Thanksgiving.
Fourth-ranked Alabama (7-1) is idle this week.